The Open Mind were perhaps the most interesting psychedelic/progressive band, that remained unknown. They released only one LP back in 1969 on Philips Records. Some will say, The Open Mind released the best UK psych album. We did an interview with bassist, Timothy Dufeu.
The Open Mind is one of the best less known bands from the 60's period and to talk about it with you Tim is really exciting. Would you like to tell us for the start where were you born and what are some childhood and early teenage memories?
I was born in Malvern, Worcestershire. My father was Chief Petty Officer at HMS Duke, a land based naval station during the war. We moved to Tooting, London when I was two. We then moved to Putney, London when I was four. I remember as a child, in Putney, with friends investigating bomb sites. Also sweets were still rationed.
When did you start playing bass and what did inspire you to do so?
I started playing bass in the mid-60s. Originally I was singer in a band called the Apaches, then I was guitarist, then bass player. I took up the bass because the original bass player left - sorry not much inspiration there!
What was the first band you joined?
The Apaches. We recorded a demo record with Joe Meek.
The Apaches was one of the bands you were part of. Did they release anything?
When was The Drag Set born and how did you guys came together?
The Drag Set was formed about 1965. We all lived in the same neighborhood.
Tim Dufeu Marque Club, London
You released one single on Go! Label back in 1967. Day and Night / Get Out of My Way is the title. Would you like to tell us about recording and releasing this single?
It was recorded as a demo for our agent to promote the band. It was released as a single and played in clubs around London and the counties. To my knowledge, it was never played on the radio nor was it for sale to the general public.
Did The Drag Set played any live gigs? Where and with who? What songs beside yours did you play?
Yes, we played mainly in London clubs such as The Flamingo, the Playboy Club, Cafe des Artistes in Chelsea, and The Pontiac to name a few. On the bill were bands such as Unit 4+2, Small Faces. We covered mainly Motown stuff and R&B (Chuck Berry etc). We were also last-minute replacements at The Crawdaddy, if the band didn't show up. We also backed Alexis Korner, Cyril Davies and Brownie Magee.
Out of this The Open Mind was born. Did the members changed from The Drag Set to The Open Mind?
There is another name I found called Armada. Was this just a temporary name?
Armada was after the Open Mind folded. Me, Terry, Garry Window and Steve Florence were the members (plus a drummer, who I can't remember the name of) and we played progressive jazz at The Electric Garden, Happening, 100 Club. Armada gradually faded away in the mid-70s.
How did you choose the name The Open Mind. It really goes so well with that time and the spirit of the time…
You released Horses and Chariots / Before My Time and Magic Potion / Cast a Spell and a legendary LP back in 1969 on Philips Records. Who were you signed up?
What do you remember from recording and producing your LP?
Our producer was Johnny Franz who produced Dusty Springfield and Scott Walker. It was recorded at Philips studios in Stanhope Place, Kensington. Our manager's son, stopped the recording to announce that his dad (our manager) had died and then just walked off!
How was the LP distributed and how many copies were pressed?
Sorry, I don't know. I do know that we didn't sell very many!
I would really love if you could comment each song from the LP.
Can't comment on all of them, but most of the music was composed and put together during rehearsals. Mick would come up with a song, Terry would say 'let's do it this way' then I would say 'no, let's do it this way'; eventually the song would be structured. I wanted to get away from the soppy songs like Dear Louise and become more edgy. I had a set of French graphics SciFi books. As I couldn't speak French I used my imagination to think up The ideas for songs such as My Mind Cries, Thor the Thunder God, Magic Potion, Horses & Chariots, Before My Time and Cast a Spell.
The cover artwork is absolutely stunning. Who made it?
The cover was done by Philips' inhouse design group, based on my discussions. The main picture uses the head of the 'Charioteer of Delphi'.
How about song writing?
Mick and Terry put the words to my ideas.
Did The Open Mind toured? Where all did you play?
We were a resident band at London's Marque Club and the UFO Club also The Round House Camden town, The 100 Club Oxford St. Also played at The Pontiac Club in Putney, the Establishment in Soho, Flamingo and a lot of Universities in London. Outside of London we played various places in Surrey, Caesar's Palace in Birmingham but never strayed too far. Others on the bill were Joe Cocker, Arthur Brown, Electric Prunes, John Mayall, Wilson Pickett, Jimmy Witherspoon, The Action, Neat Change.
Would you like to share any particular stories, that happened to you while playing with them?
Terry Schindler, Philip Fox & Steve Florence
At a gig in Surrey, the Neat Change came along to see us and we had this pyrotechnic display with flash powder in red and green, which I obtained from a theatrical supplier. We used to light this stuff, and have strobe lights and other oil projections. The Neat Change asked me where I got all this theatrical equipment from and one of the guys said that he had got some safety flares from a ship chandlers that he was going to use on the stage at their next gig, which happened to be the Marquee! I rest my case!! further information on this could be obtained from London Fire Brigade.
Steve Florence, Tim Dufeu & Terry Schnidler
Philip Fox, Tim Dufeu & Steve Florence
What happened next and what was the cause for breakup?
Our management at the time was involved with some dodgy gangster types and a lot of places. were reluctant to work with us. So a change in name (to Armada) and a new manager resulted.
What did you and other members did in the 70's, 80's…?
After leaving Armada, I ran my own graphics design business and went on to work for various design companies both in the UK and Middle East. Terry moved to Vancouver, where he a great success in the rag trade. Phil Fox ran a pub in the Midland. I've lost touch with Mick but do occasionally speak to his brother.
What occupies your life these days?
I've been retired for a few years now, apart from the occasional freelance graphic assignment. I belong to the Hammersmith Ukulele Group so still involved in music! I also paint and love cooking. My wife and I are also big fans of Ben Waters and have been on a tour with him to Memphis and New Orleans.
Any regrets if you look back?
Life's too short for regrets! Only I wish I had kept my original copy of the LP - it's worth a bit more that it was when released!
Thanks a lot for taking your time, Tim. I'm really honored to have you on It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine. Would you like to send a message to It's Psychedelic Baby readers?
Thanks to everyone for keeping the Open Mind alive. I love hearing from people who enjoy our music.
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2013
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